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tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  December 25, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EST

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headquarters. i was handing out leaflets on a street corner in new york, and a woman thought this was really cute, and she asked me why, and i made the case for lindsey, and got a start on my political career making the case against the opponent as well. she gave me a white box with strings that looked to be pastries, and we opened it up, and there were all of these doughnuts in a wad of $10 bills. my first lesson in politics, the district leaders said you could keep the doughnuts. >> and david axelrod tonight, 8:0 p.m., -- 8:00 p.m. with --
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on c-span. >> as president obama begins his second term in office, what is the most important issue he should consider? >> if you are in grades 6 through 12, made a short video. >> it is your chance to win a grand prize of $5,000. $50,000 in total prize is. for more information, go to student cam.corg -- .prg. first lady michelle obama and chefs how the demonstration at the white house dining room. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> are you excited? very nice. you are welcome.
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there you go. >> excellent. what would you like? green? there you go. you are doing a good job.
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>> wow. that is cute. >> what do you think? >> yeah, and you can put these on your tree, right? what do you think? you take a string and you thread it thru. have you threaded a needle before? then you tie it, and you may not
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at the end -- make a knot at the end. tied it like you are typing a share. -- tie it like you are tieing a shoe. there you go. tie it tight. that is cool. i like the way you combined the strength. do you like art? >> is that mr. lincoln? >> that is. have you seen the movie "
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lincoln?" it talks about one time in his life turned >> are you going to make something to eat? >> you are cold? come here. have you seen that before? you might be able to do that? where do we put the ornaments? hey. are they ready to move? i will check out the next station. hey. everything looks great. how are you?
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>> good to see you. >> good to see you. >> congratulations. >> i love the gingerbread house. it is the best ever. did he tell. how did you do that? -- vivendi tel. how did you do that? what is that process? wow. it is granite? what is the activity? what is your name? it looks good. this is cool. it is soft. it is like a real bird. that is a good idea.
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thank you. i like yours, too. this is good. the pomegranate is kind of soft. i did not realize it. what do you think? what should i do? an m? this is hard. i have to twist it? thank you for that advice. i was told i needed to twist it. a little more? >> may i? you are ready to go.
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>> and i am ready. m's are hard to do. >> so are r's. >> it takes a little patience. all right. you see how much patience it takes to do this, right? yeah, absolutely. all right. do you think?
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because it is -- does it spell out -- all right. you are right. thank you guys. this is much better. this is much better. m -- o. >> is it kind of weird when --
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>> you kind of ignore them, that is a good question. they are here a lot. here is m o. i am going to do a heart on the other side. this is fun. i have an m o and a heart. it is a little mixed up. i will put mine in the center. i will check out what they are doing at the next table and i will be back. ok? thank you. you do look familiar.
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where did i see you before? u.s. they good question, did you not? -- you asked a good question, did you not? what is your name again? >> danielle. >> you are old hat here. you do this all of the time. good to see you. have fun. >> have fun, hey. show me what we are doing. what kind of lollipops are these? is this white house honey? do you know these come from bees we keep in the backyard? why? they make fresh honey, and the
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health the garden grove. -- they help the garden grow. >> this is good. >> did you taste these? this is good. [laughter] these are really good. ?id you put sugar on these ne how do you get it curly? >> they turned out really cute, and it is a good crunch. we should give some of the photographers some of these to see how good they taste.
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those are so good. healthy, tasty expects. not bad. -- snacks. not bad. ok. now we desperate. i have to figure out what design. -- now we have to decorate. now i have to figure out what design. decisions, decisions. ok. >> this is all edible, ok, guys? >> once you put this on, you can eat this lollipop. i love this. >> very healthy. i am copying yours. [laughter]
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>> how will the are you guys? eight? 6.5? the half is critical. how this school going? maureen? you sound like -- boring? you sound like sasha. what do you want for christmas? what is a wii you? >> you can turn on the television show and play. >> that sounds cool. who else has staff? >> you want a new phone?
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>> sasha wants a phone. she cannot have one yet. >> she cannot call anyone. >> is it one of those phones? there is time to get a sloan. you really did not a phone -- there is time to get a phone. when you get a phone you really do not want one. you do not want everybody calling you. you need a new battery? what else do you want for christmas? >> boots. >> you want boots? you want high heels?
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but me see your shoes? that is good. good with that address. that is a -- flats go too -- good with that dress. you want more? that means you have everything you need. >> maybe you should share what you have. >> that is an idea. all right. this will be my lollipop. what do you guys think? ok. let's show the crew. we have our lollipop. healthy, edible, delightful.
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and the glue is icing. did we taste this? it is good. we have another surprise. hi, man. how are you? you want to come say hello? you guys want to see? >> can i pet him? >> absolutely. he just got cleaned. hi, man. bo, sit.
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there you go. [laughter] >> make sure you watch his tail. he is a good boy. i know. i know, man. they are all great kids. he tastes some cini -- icing on your fingers. >> he is very warm. >> and fluffy. >> you are getting so much love. to theet him say hi camera people. did everybody get a chance to feel him?
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>> i have three dogs. >> what kind of dogs? >> i have a german shepherd. >> i love german shepherds. >> what is that? bo, you can see his skin is blo -- blue. >> is bo a boy or a girl? >> he is a boy. >> he got bigger. he is a portuguese water dog. he loves to swim.
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that could beat it. -- be it. do you want to come in? let somebody else get in compared to you want to hold the -- get in. do you want to hold the the lea sh? you guys are very good with him. you are very gentle. he is calm. that means he is comfortable. pet away. my goodness, when did that happen? >> the one time when i was at my
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friend's house and >> come around here. when you need a dog, the first thing to do is -- meet a dog, the first thing you do is let him smell, then you can see what the dog is really like. do you like dogs? not make you did afraid of dogs. not all dogs bite. ok, but everyone had a chance to go to each station? make sure. you want to get one of everything, ok? thank you, ct. -- sweetie.
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i know you want to see bo. what are you going to do with that shot? >> nothing. [laughter] >> happy holidays. it is good to see you. thank you. you did a good bo viewing. they no longer care. they are back to ornaments. just open in the house to visitors -- we will have 90,000 people here. it is really a blessing. >> yes, we are ready to get to work. ok, guys. i am going to go. happy holidays. thank you for sharing.
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make sure you get an ornament and a lollipop, ok? bye, sweetie. keep up with school. work hard. thank you so much. it was great to have you here. >> have you met laurie tillman? >> the name sounds familiar. is that your mom? i know she is proud of you. i am leaving. i have to go to a meeting. great to see you again. bye, gorgeous.
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bye, and sweetness. thank you. bye-bye. good doggie. >> we also have different ornaments made by artists in chicago. and all of the other ornaments on the tree here have been from previous years. we try to reuse them in a different format. the rest of the ornaments came from other trees in the white house. 60% of the ornaments are recycled from previous years. pardon me? >> [inaudible] >> all trees in the house.
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[inaudible conversations]
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♪ [inaudible conversations] >> how is it different this year from previous years? [laughter]
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>> it is somewhat precise.
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>> there are 40 ornaments.
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>> here is what is coming out this christmas day. george will talks about the relationship between religion and politics. then, singer/songwriter james taylor from a recent appearance of the national press club. after that, first lady michelle obama holds a holiday party with goldstar families. >> by the time i was 9 years old, i was handed leaflets for robert kennedy, and i always say when i was 10 and made the decision and broke with the democratic party, and went to work for john lindsay, who was running for mayor of new york. i went to the liberal party headquarters. i was handing out leaflets on the street corner in the new york.
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someone thought it was really cute, a little boy handed out leaflets, and she ask me why, and then made the case and the case against the opponent as well, and she said this was for you, and she handed me a box that looked like pastries, the white box with strings. i took it back to the liberal party headquarters, and there were all these doughnuts and a wad of $10 bills. in one of my early lessons in politics, the district leader grabbed the money and he said you can keep the doughnuts. [laughter] >> tonight, david axelrod on his life in politics, then new hampshire and the all women delegation, and growing up in the white house. tonight, on c-span.
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>> columnist george will spoke recently at washington university in saint louis about the role of religion and politics. it was hosted by the center on religion and politics will hear from former senator john danfor th, just before mr. we will speaks. >> finally, it is my honor to introduce senator john danforth, who will introduce mr. will. the senator is a partner with the law firm. he graduated with honors from princeton university, where he majored in religion. he received a bachelor of divinity degree from yale divinity school and a bachelor of laws degree from yale law school. he practiced law for some years and began his political career
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in 1968 when he was elected attorney general of missouri in his first place for public office. missouri voters elected him to the u.s. senate in 1976. they reelected him in 1982 and 1988, for a total of 18 years of service. the senator initiated major legislation in international trade, telecommunications, health care, research and development, transportation, and civil rights. he was later appointed special counsel by janet reno. he later represented the united states as u.s. ambassador to the united nations and served as a special envoy to sudan. he has been a great friend to missouri, st. louis, and washington university. please join me in welcoming him now. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you very much. i owe our speaker an apology. when you hear the apology, you are going to conclude that i am a really terrible human being. i am the kind of person who takes advantage of a friend, especially a friend who is vulnerable. when he is vulnerable, i pounce. tonight's origin was a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding of victoria will, george's only daughter. george was standing on the edge
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of the hotel ballroom taking and one of life's great moments. the marriage of the daughter is so deeply emotional. george the loving father was clearly caught up in a moment. that was the moment i seized the opportunity to strike. i sidled up to him and whispered ever so softly in his ear, would you mind giving a lecture at washington university? you might ask how anybody could have been so insensitive. after 18 years in the senate, it came naturally.
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[laughter] george has been a close friend for nearly four decades and it is wonderful to welcome him to st. louis, even if the invitation so disgraceful. george will is one of the most recognizable people in america today. certainly, the most widely known intellectual. he is the author of the least a dozen books. since the early days of the show, he has been a regular on what is now "this week with george stephanopoulos." he is an astute philosopher. he is a native of illinois, a student of baseball, a lifelong
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cubs fan, and as such, he is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. [laughter] [applause] despite their rudeness of the invitation, he is my friend. george well. -- will. [applause] >> jack's invitation is perfectly acceptable. my dear friend william f. buckley once called up his friend charleton heston, the actor, and said chuck, do you believe in free speech? he said, of course. he said good, you are about to
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give one. it is a delight to be back here. it is a delight to be back on campus. long ago and far away, i was a college professor. in 1976, two of my friends ran for the senate against each other in new york state. the night they were both nominated, jim buckley got up and said, i look forward to running against professor moynihan. jim buckley is referring to you as professor moynihan.
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pat said, the mudslinging has begun. what you are in for tonight, however, it is a lecture on political philosophy. take notes, there will be a test. in 1953, the year in which the words "under god" were added to the pledge of allegiance, it he proclaimed the fourth of july and national day of prayer. on that day, eisenhower fished in the morning, golfed in the
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afternoon, and played bridge in the evening. there were prayers -- perhaps when the chief executive faced a daunting putt. this was not his first foray into the darkened ground of the relationship between religion and american politics. three days before christmas in 1952, president elect ike made a speech in which he said "our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in the deeply felt religious faith and i do not care what it is." he received a much ridicule from his cultured despise years. his professed indifference to
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the major of the religious faith. it is the first part of the statement that deserves continuing attention. certainly many americans, perhaps the majority of them, agreed that democracy or at least our democracy, which is based on a belief in natural rights, presupposes religious faith. people believe this that all people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. there are two separate propositions that are pertinent to any consideration of the role of religion in american politics. one is an empirical question. is it a fact that the success of a democracy requires a religious people governing
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themselves by religious norms? the second question is a question of logic. does belief in america as distinctive and democracy, a limited government whose limits are defined by the natural rights of the government, do those entail religious beliefs? regarding the empirical question, i believe religion can still be supremely important and helpful to the flourishing of our democracy. i do not believe it is necessary for good citizenship. regarding the question of our government's logic, i do not think the idea of natural rights requires a religious foundation or even that the founders uniformly thought so. it is, however, the case that
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natural rights are especially grounded when there are grounded in religious. we in journalism are admonished not to bury the lead. we are supposed to put the most important point early on in our story. i will begin by postulating the following. in the 20th-century, the most important decision taken anywhere by anyone about anything was the decision made in the first decade of the last century about where to locate princeton university's graduate college. princeton's president, a starchy presbyterian named woodrow wilson, wanted the graduate college located on the main campus. wilson's adversary won and the
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graduate college located where it now is -- wanted the graduate college located where it now is. woodrow wilson was a man of unbending temperament when he was certain he was right, which was almost always. he took his defeat about the graduate college badly. he resigned the presidency, went into politics. and rowland the 20th century -- ruined the 20 century. [laughter] i simplify somewhat and exaggerate a bit. i do so to make a point, however. to date and for the past century, since woodrow wilson was elected the nation's president 100 years ago,
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american politics has been a struggle to determine which best understood what american politics should be. should we practice the politics of woodrow wilson? or the politics of james madison? what has this to do with our topic today, the role of something ancient, religion, in something very modern, american politics? the crux of the difference between the approaches to politics is the concept of natural rights. as i draw for you my picture of the rivalry, i recall the story of a teacher who asked her class to draw a picture of whatever here she chose. she circulated among their desks. pausing at the desk of little
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sally, she asked, of what are you drawing a picture? i am drawing a picture of god. the teacher said, no one knows what god looks like. sally replied, they will in a minute. [laughter] in 30 minutes or so, you will have the picture or so of my theory of the role of religion in american politics. i will note three peculiarities. i write about politics to support my baseball habit. jack had the bad taste to mention the chicago cubs. i grew up midway between chicago and st. louis.
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i had to choose between being a cubs fan and the cardinals fan. all of my friends became cardinal fans and grew up cheerful and liberal. [laughter] i became a gloomy conservative, but not gloomy about long-term prospects. america has just had a presidential election, its 57th. the ticket of one of the major parties did not contain a protestant. this was an event without precedent.
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it is especially interesting because the ticket, and morman and a catholic, was put forward by a party -- regarding religion, the times, they are changing. when are they not? i am part of this interesting change. i am a member of the nones. when americans are asked their religious affiliation, 20% say none. my subject is the role of religion and politics. i am not a person of faith. concerning this, permit me a few digressions.
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i am the son of a professor of philosophy. he was the son of a lutheran minister. my father may have become a philosopher because his father was a minister. as a boy, the future professor will sat outside the pastors study door listening to the pastor and members of his congregation wrestle with the problem of reconciling free will. by the time my father became an adult, after a childhood of two or more church services every sunday, he had seen quite enough of the inside of churches. he also had acquired a philosopher's disposition. i was raised in a secular home, but one which the table talk often took a reflective turn.
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my father had recently so adjourned at oxford, i was able to spend two years there. oxford was the vibrant center of the study of philosophy. because of that, i next went to princeton to study political philosophy. i began in journalism at the national review. religion is central to the american party because religion
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is not central to american politics. religion plays a large role in nurturing of the virtue because of the modernity of america. our nation assigns the politics, encouraging the flourishing of the infrastructure of the institution that have the primary responsibility for nurturing the sociology of virtue. these institutions with their primary responsibility are of the private sector of life. they are not political institutions. some of our founders, notably
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benjamin franklin, subscribe to the 18th century, a creator that wound up the universe like a clock and did not intervene in the human story. deism explains the existence of the nature of universe, but so does the big bang theory. religion is supposed to consult and conjoin, as well as explain. deism hardly counts as a religion. george washington would not kneel to pray. when his pastor rebuked him for setting a bad example,
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washington mended his ways. he stayed away from church on communion sundays. no ministers were present and no prayers were said when he died. washington had proclaimed that religion and morality are indispensable supports for political prosperity. reason and experience both were best to expect that morality can prevail in exclusion for
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religious principles. the longer john adams lived, the shorter grew his creed. in the end, it was unitarianism. jefferson wrote those ringing words of the declaration, but jefferson was a utilitarian when he urged his nephew to inquire into the truth of christianity. "if it ends in a belief that there is no god, you'll find virtue in the comforts and pleasantness you feel in virtue's exercise." james madison always explained away religion as an innate appetite. the mind, he said, prefers the
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idea of the self existing clause to an infinite series of cause and effect. even the founders who were unbelievers considered it a civic duty in public service to be observant unbelievers. two days after jefferson wrote his famous letter endorsing a wall of separation between church and state, he attended church services in the house of representatives. services were also held at the treasury department. jefferson and other founders made statements like accommodations for the public's
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strong preference for religion to enjoy ample space in the public square. they understood that christianity fostered attitudes and aptitudes associated with useful to a popular government. protestantism emphasis on the individuals' direct relationship with god and the privacy of individual choice subverted convention hierarchical societies in which deference was expected from the many towards the few. beyond that, the american founding owes much more to john locke than to jesus. rights that exist before
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government exists. rights that are natural and are not creations of the regime that exists to secure them. in 1786, the year before the constitution convention, it in the preamble for religious freedom, jefferson proclaimed "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions and physics or geometry." since the founding, america's religious enthusiasm have waxed and waned. the durability of america's denominations have confounded jefferson's prediction, which he made in 1822. he said there is not a young man now living in the united states who will not die a
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unitarian. the public elected taft. there is a paradox at work. america is the first and most relentlessly modern nation. it is also the most religious modern nation. one important reason for this is that we have disentangled religion from public institutions. there has long been a commonplace assumption, one that my dear friend called the
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liberal expectancy. it was, and still is, an assumption that pre-modern forces will lose their history. the two most important of these are religion and ethnicity. events refute the liberal expectancy. religion still drives history. religion is also central to the emergence of america's public philosophy. at the risk of offending
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specialists by distortion through compression, what we offer a very brief placement of americans foundries. machiavelli begins modern political philosophy. this spot is a convenient demarcation. the ancients sought to enlarge the likelihood of the emergence of noble leaders. machiavelli, however, took his bearings from people as they are.
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he defined the political project as making the best of this flawed material. he knew that nothing would ever be made from the crooked timber of humanity. machiavelli was no democrat. he reoriented politics towards accommodations, strong and predictable forces rising from a great constant, human nature common to all people in all stations. for 44 years, machiavelli and luther were contemporaries. luther was no democrat. in theory, and least of all in temperament.
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when summoned, he proclaimed, here i stand. i cannot do otherwise. he asserted the privacy of the individual and the individual's conscience. this expressed the logic of his political radicalism. without fully intending to do so, he celebrated individualism at the expense of tradition and of hierarchy. he sought a ground of certainty, beyond revelation and beyond pure reason. he famously found such a ground
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in cognition itself. i think, therefore, i am. it was supplied the foundations for whatever certainties human beings can achieve. it was then hobbe's philosophy that became the decisive. the bedrock of certainty came from his experience with religious warfare.
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this strife taught him that all human beings have one shared constant similarity. they all fear death. he directed a philosophy of despotism. in exchange for security, people would willingly surrender the precious sovereignty they possessed in the state of nature where life was solitary, brutish, and short. his philosophy, contained the seeds of democracy. all human beings were equally under the sway of the narrative. all human beings can come up
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without the assistance of a priest, comprehend the basic passions that move the world. to the extent that the world of politics is driven by strong and steady passions and interests, to that extent, there will be a new science of politics. the science of politics based on what all human beings have in common, acknowledged supplied by the senses. because people do not agree about religious truths, and because they fight over their disagreements, social
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tranquility is served by regarding religion as voluntary matter for private judgment. not state-supported and state enforced. in the interest of social peace, the higher aspirations of the ancient political philosophers were pushed to the margins of modern politics. those aspirations were considered, at best, unrealistic. at worst, downright dangerous. henceforth, politics would not be a sphere in which human nature is perfected. political project would not include appointing people towards their highest potentials. instead, a modern politics would be based on the assumption that people will express and will act upon the strong impulses of their flawed nature's.
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the ancients had asked, what is the highest of which mankind is capable? how can we pursue this in politics? hobbes asked, what is the worst that can happen in politics? and how can we avoid this? america's founders had a kind of political catechism that expressed modernity. what is the worst political outcome? tyranny. what a form of tyranny can happen any republic governed by majority rule? tyranny of the majority. how could this be prevented? the answer is by not having majorities that can become
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tyrannical. reducing the likelihood the stable and tyrannical majority can emerge and endure. how was this to be achieved? by implementing james madison's revolution of democratic theory. of the diminutive madison, he was about 5 foot 3. never have there been such a high ratio of mind to mass. he was princeton's first graduate student and he turned democratic theory upside-down. before madison, few political theorists believe democracy could be feasible only in a small face to face society. this was supposedly so because factions were considered the enemy of popular government small societies were thought to be least susceptible to the proliferation of factions. madison's revolutionary theory, the core of which is distilled
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in federalist paper number 10, was that a republic should be small but extensive, expand the scope of the republic in order to expand the number of factions. the more factions, the merrier. saving multiplicity of factions will make it more probable that
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majorities will be unstable, shifting minority factions. madison related his clear-eyed and unsentimental view to the constitution's structure.
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>> that is the self- interestedness of rival institutions, presidents, legislatures will check one another. madison famously continued, it may be a reflection on human nature that such device should be necessary to control the abuses of government but what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. if men were angels no government would be necessary. if angels were to govern men, night external or internal controls on government would be necessary. so said madison, we must have a policy of supplying by opposite and rival interest that defect better motives. but neither madison nor the other founding father's should predispose without there being good motives somewhere. such motives are manifestations of good character. our founders were not so foolish as to suppose that freedom can thrive or survive without appropriate education and nourishments of character. they understood this must mean education broadly understood to include not just schools, but all the institutions of civil society that explain freedom and equip citizens with the virtues freedom requires. these virtues includes self- control, modernization. these reinforce the rationality essential to human happiness. notice when madison like the
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founding father's generally spoke of human nature, he was not speaking as modern progressives do as manage inconstant, something evolving, something constantly formed and reformedly changing social and other historical forces. when people today speak of nature, they generally speak of flora and trees and animals and other things not human. but the founders spoke of nature as a guide to and as a measure of human action. they thought of nature not as something merely to be manipulated for human convenience but rather as a source of norms to be discovered.
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they understood that natural rights could not be asserted, celebrated and defended unless nature, including human nature is regarded as a normative rather than a merely con ting nt fact. this was a view but stressed by the view of teaching that nature is not chaos but rather as the replace of employment of chaos in the mind and will of the creator. this is the creator who endows us with natural right that is are inevitable, inalienable and universal and hence the foundation of democratic quality. and these natural rights are the foundation of limited government.
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government defined by the limited goal of securing those rights so that individuals may flourish in their free and responsible exercise of those rights. a government thus limited is not in the business of imposing its opinions about what happiness or what excellence the citizens should choose to pursue. having such opinions is the business of other institutions, private and voluntary institutions, especially religious ones that supply the conditions of liberty. thus the founders did not consider natural rights reasonable because religion affirmed them, rather the founders considered religion
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reasonable because it secured natural rights. there may, however, be a cultural contradiction. the contradiction is while religion can sustain liberty, liberty does not necessarily sustain religion. this is of paramount importance because of the importance of the declaration of independence. america's public philosophy is instilled in the declaration's second paragraph. we hold these truths to be self- evident. notice our nation was born with an assertion the important political truths are not merely knowable, they are self-evident, meaning they can be known by any mind, not clouded by ignorance or superstition it is the declaration self-evident true that all men are created equal, equal not only in their access to the important political truths, but also in being
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endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights including life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. next comes perhaps the most important word in the declaration. it is the word secure. to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, jefferson wrote. that is government's primary purpose is to secure preexisting rights. government does not create rights, it does not dispense them. here, concerning the opening paragraphs of the declaration is where wilson and modern progressivism enter the american story. wilson urged people not to read what he called the preface to the declaration.
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he explicitly said if you wish to understand the real declaration of independence, do not read the preface. that is what everyone else calls the essence of the declaration of independence. wilson did so for the same reason he became the first president to criticize the american founding. and he did not criticize it about minor matters. he criticized it root and branch beginning with the doctrine of natural right which is he rejected. his criticism began there precisely because that doctrine dictates a limited government which he considered a cramped unscientific understanding of political seasons. wilson disparaged the doctrine of natural rights as quote fourth of july sentiments." he did so because this doctrine limited the plan to make government more scientific in the service of a politics that is much for ambitious.
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wilson's formative years were the years in which darwin's theory of evolution seeped into the social science, including political science. wilson the first president of the american political science association wanted the political project to make government evolve as human nature evolves. only by doing so he thought could government help human nature progress. this is why for progressives progress meant progressing up from the founders and they are falls because static understanding of human nature. only government unleashed from the confining doctrine of
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natural rights could be muscular enough for this project. such a government needed not the founder's static constitution but a living constitution. a much more permissive constitution, that is the new progressive government needed the old constitution to be construed as granting to the government, powers sufficient for whatever projects the government decided or required for progress. what then about the framer's purpose of writing a constitution to protect people from popular passions. wilson argued that the evolution of society had advanced so far that such worries were acknist i can. the passions in society such as the united states had wilson believed been domesticated. they no longer threatened to be
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tyrannical or threatened the social order. hence wilson thought the state emancipated from the founders static constitution should be and i quote him an instrumentality for quickening in every way both collective and individual development. well, who was to determine what ways might not be suitable. the answer must be the government itself. wilson was as progressives tended to be a his or the cyst, that is someone with a strong sense of theology, history he thought had its own unfolding logic, it's autonomous trajectory, it's proper destination. it was the duty of leaders to discern the destination towards which history was progressing
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and to make government the unfettered better of this progress. progressives tend to exalt the role of farsighted leaders and hence to exalt the role of the american president. this too puts them at odds with the founders. the words leader and leaders appear just 13 times in all of the federalist papers, once as a reference to those who led the revolution. the other dozen times are all in context of disparagement. the founders were wary of the people's potential for unrational and unruly passions and were therefore wear of leaders who would seek to ascend to power by arousing ways of such passions.
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wilson however was unworried about what worried the founders. he said great passions when they run through a whole population inevitably find a great spokesman. in 1912 they found wilson. and he began building what we have today, the modern administrative regulatory state from the supervision of which no corner of life is immune. now, i will leave it to other more theologically grounded persons to decide whether or how the progressive doctrine of a changing human nature can be squared with the teachings of various religions. i will, however, postulate. this a nation such as ours steeped in and shaped by biblical religion cannot accommodate a politics that takes it's bearings from the proposition that human nature
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is a product of malleable forces and perhaps under perfection is a purpose of politics. i will go further, biblical religion is concerned with asserting and defending the dignity of the individual. biblical religion teach that is individual dignity is linked to individual responsibility and moral agency, therefore, biblical religion surely should be wear of the consequences of government unat the timered from the limited purpose of securing natural rights. do not take my word for it. take the word of alexis. he wrote democracy in america two generations after the american founding.
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two generations after madison identified tyranny of the majority as the distinctively worst political outcome that democracy could produce. he had a different answer than madison did to the question of what kind of despotism democratic nations have to fear. his warning is justly famous and more pertinent now than ever. this despotism that worried him would be milder than traditional despotism would degrade men without tormenting them. it is absolute, detailed, regular, far seen and mild. it would resemble paternal power if like tatted for its object to prepare men for manhood, button contrary it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood.
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it rarely works for their happiness but wants to be the sole ash or the for their happiness. it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principle affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances, can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? so it is he continued that every day it renders the employment of free will less
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useful and more rare. it confines the action of the will in a smaller space and little by little steals the very use of free will from each citizen. it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd. each of us can, each of us must really decide to what extent this has been full filled. people of faith might ask this, does the tendency of modern politics to take on more and more tasks in order to e little rate the human conditions, does this tend to mute religion's message about reconciling us to that condition. and people worry where religious institutions can flourish beneath the dark shade of the government that tries to splay
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every human need and satisfy every human appetite. to the extent that the politics of modernity attenuates the religion of society, to the extent it threatens society's prosperity and happiness. he understood this. erving described himself as thee tropic by which he meant oriented to the divine. he explained why in he has words which a society needs more than sensible men and women if it is to prosper. it need the energizes of the creative imagination as expressed in the arts. it is crucial to the lives of all of our citizens as it is to all human beings at all times that they encounter a world that possesses a transcendent meaning
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in which the human experience makes sense. nothing is more dehumanizing, more certain to generate a crisis than to experience one's life as a meaningless event in a meaningless world. we may be approaching what is for our nation unexplored and unperilous territory. europe is experiencing that and the results are not attractive. it seems that when a majority of people internalize the big bang theory and ask with peggy lee is that all there is, when many people decide the universe is
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the result of a cosmic sneeze with no meaning, when they conclude that therefore life should be filled, overflowing with distractions, comforts and entertainments to assuage the board m, then they may become susceptible to the excitements of politics that promise assets meaning and spurs alleviations of a human condition berefts and therefore barren. we know from bitter experience of blood soaked 20th century the political consequences of this if it's meaninglessness. political nature of who are vacuum and a vacuum of meaning is filled by secular fighting faiths. fascism gave its adherence a meaningful life. communism taught it's adherence to derive meaning from the participation in the drama of
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history's unfolding destiny. the political paradox is this, secularism advanced in part as moral revolution against the history of religious strife. but there is no precedence for bloodshed in the scale produced in the 20th century by political faiths. therefore even those of us who are members of the growing cohort that pugh calls nuns, we wish continued vigor for the rich array of religious institution that is have leavened american life. we do so for reasons articulated by the most articulated american statesman. in 1859 beneath the clouds of war and disunion a successful railroad lawyer from across the
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river from less than 100 miles north of here, a lawyer turned presidential addressed a wisconsin agricultural society. he concluded his speech with and farme that devised a proposition to be carved in stone, to be forever in view and forever true. after some weeks they returned and the proposition they offered to him was this too shall pass away. said abraham lincoln, how consoling that proposition is in times of grief, how chastening in times of pride and yet said lincoln it is not necessarily true. if he said, we americans cultivate the world within us as we cultivate the physical world around us, we perhaps shall long endure.
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we have long endured. we shall continue to the. this is so in large measure because of america's whole some division of labor between political institution and the intermediary institutions of civil society. including especially religious institutions that mediate between the citizen and the state. the mediating institutions crucial to the flourishing of st. louis include this university, this center and crucial to the dan forget family. thank you and thank them for you're attention and now i welcome your comments. i thank you very much.
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>> we are having time for q&a. we have standing mikes if you will queue at the mikes we will take your turn and we will end promptly at 8:30 which gives us about 20 minutes. >> i appear to have answered every question. >> thanks for coming. what would you see -- one of the arguments for less government involvement with things is that if people hold on to their money more, they would be in a position to take care of the poor, the oh pressed etc. can you imagine where else that might come from? do you think it's possible for those people to be taken care of outside of a religious context and outside of a political context and are there any examples of that in other
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government? >> i am not denying the role which americans of all political persuasions now agree on that the state has in applying a social safety net. i am saying there are potential cost to this and not only financial cost. there is a cost of a crowding out of private initiative, a crowding out of charity. an off loading of all social responsibilities on to the state. it is indicative surely of something important that the chartable impulse in the united states is far stronger than it is in europe. and the welfare states are far stronger in europe than they are in the united states.
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the united states has been tardy some people say backward, i say prudent in not off loading so much of social responsibility on to the state. that's all i'm saying. that there is a cost beyond the financial cost of the entitlement state that ought to be thought about, particularly because right now this becomes extremely practical as we scramble around looking for revenues to fund the entitlement state. people say one way to get more revenues is to limit chartable deductions so the state grows and at the same time simultaneously and because of that limits the chartable efficacy of the charitable impulse. >> do you think outside of religious organizations or the government, do you think something else would fill that vacuum? >> lots of things. the democracy in america, still the greatest book written.
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he wrote it when we were just becoming a mass democracy and nothing struck him more than the american society in generating spontaneous order of voluntary associations. it's no other country is like this. when the wagon trades would leave -- a great american his attorney who was librarian of congress. he wrote about the second day out they circumstance it would wagons and write a constitution for the wagon train and assign tasks and have committees. it's in our national d.n.a., partly because we believe in govern answer from the bottom up. >> thank you so much. this was a wonderful lecture.
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i only hope that conservatism has more defenders in the coming decade. i have a couple of questions. one kind of piggy backs. you said at the beginning of your these sis that religion is in the place of civil society where we discuss and define our moral values, religion should be separated from politics, continuing on what is the danger of having government and politics continually encroach upon a civil society that is supposed to be separate from that? and separate from that i really enjoyed everything you said. my question regarding the logic of your argument is how do you have this idea that biblical religion supports human rights with the fact that christianity and the bible has changed dramatically over the last 2,000 years? >> i would argue that the essence of christianity has not changed over the last 2,000
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years. it is been used for political purposes and people tend to piggy back their political agendas on to all kind of mankind inheritance. but biblical religion is a constant of human nature. i do not think and certainly did not intend to say that a belief in natural rights needs to be grounded in religion. jefferson believes our rights don't depend on our religious
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beliefs. i do believe it is the case that religious people are grounded in the right are natural because nature was designed by a creator have a particularly strong foundation for a belief in our rights. >> thank you so much for being here. it's an honor. did you ever consider running for political office, what were the determining factors and would you ever consider it in the future? >> no to the first question. i live in maryland. there are only three republicans in maryland. and second public life would cut into my baseball too much. third, i have a metabolic urge to write. wouldt stop and so that interfere. >> please don't. keep it up. >> thank you very much. >> i'm curious. i know in a lot of your comments you date the modern expansion of government going back to wilson. i'm curious could this be [indiscernible] >> you are absolutely right.
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lincoln expanded executive power more than anybody ever envisioned. he did so exclusively under the war powers of the constitution. the emancipation proclamation was explicitly [indiscernible] in the war powers. i have offended someone. lincoln said when he suspended habeas corpus, he did so when congress was out of session. when -- as soon as congress returned, he sought permission.
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all power to jefferson who had the audacity to embed a doctrine of natural rights. all of my political sentiments, all of my political sentiment derived from the declaration. there is no sense in which woodrow wilson, although he did expand executive powers in peacetime, there is no sense in which he is in lincoln's position.
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>> thank you. >> thank you for your excellent lecture. towards the end of your lecture, you mentioned that in the 20th century, secular and political faiths have killed more people than religious faiths. i can only assume you were talking about soviet russia and nazi germany. were these regimes possible because of the uniformity? if that is the case, how did the myriad number of protestant denominations in the united states provide a unique defense against tyranny? >> i would not say -- i was not referring to just the soviet union and nazi germany. communist china killed far more of those two tyrannies
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combined, with no christian heritage to speak of. there are serious scholars that makes serious arguments that there is something and luther's temperament that was germanic. he was no democrat. the more, the merrier. religious factions or alternative sources of social authority. what you want is a society in
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which the state does not monopolized social authority. >> you talked extensively about religion in the united states contributing to [inaudible] there is one particular force that think they can inflict their views on this country. they insist said it was the intention of the founding fathers to create a christian equivalent of iran, which i do not think is the case. just because you are religious, it does not make you write all
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the time. >> get in line with everybody else. with respect, i disagree with what you just said. the religious right, which i obviously am not a member, rose after the religious left in the form of the reverend martin luther king and jesse jackson, etc., etc. the religious right was provoked into politics. the tradition among many protestants was political quietism. and then the supreme court decided that the constitution required that there be at
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exclusion of religion from the public square in the removal of prayer from schools. deeply offended a great many americans. 40 years ago, next month, they delivered the final provocation for the legitimate political purpose of trying to save the culture. i know a great many people work them up into a frenzy about the threats of theocracy. you use the comparison of iran. good lord. we are so far from any possible menace of religious orthodoxy. try to have a prayer at a high- school football game in texas. there is zero grounds. i do not see it.
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nor do i think in the members of the religious right, and i know many of them, any desire to tyrannize. they went into politics because they felt they were attacked. they want to be left alone. [applause] >> i appreciate you as a voice of reason.
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[inaudible] my question is more about historical and interpretation. what do think it keeps us so deeply in our ongoing philosophy of what democracy should be? >> that is a separate question. there are two in my ignorance. the continental french enlightenment and the british enlightenment. they differ radically. the british enlightenment was
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empirical and temperate. the french enlightenment was severe. one gave rise to be glorious revolution and eventually the american revolution. the french enlightenment gave rise to the french revolution and a blood bath. this sounds like a philosophy seminar. what do we know and how do we know it? the french are great believers in deductive reasoning. the british, in the tradition of skepticism which make sure tentative about the fallibility. >> thank you for your lecture.
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me and my husband moved to germany. when i considered entering into adulthood, how can i contribute to society? it is very difficult to give any sort of charity for any charitable purposes in europe. it is very difficult to give service in europe. when i was asking people, they said, why would we serve? there is a bureau for that. there are some places in europe burk it is illegal to give volunteer service. as i see the united states going in the same trend of all sourcing -- outsourcing, it is
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so overregulated and so over controlling of your life, it takes away your freedom to even support yourself, how would you propose the government relinquished power is that it has taken over peacefully? how do you think the government would be able to let go of this control of our lives? >> i agree with every syllable you just said. [laughter] you almost provoked me to be more political than i felt comfortable doing in this chapel. leave more space, more breathing room for civil society. this astonishing combustion of
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voluntary association. in my remarks, i used the analogy of a tree. in the shade of which, smaller things cannot grow. that is the danger of an excess of state. >> [inaudible] how can we get them to take the laws out? [applause] >> we are almost out of time. >> you were raised in a secular household. and how you still classify yourself as not being religious.
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he still believed to be the correct position. you also mentioned the benefits of religion. this interesting paradox where if everybody held the position you do, we would lose the benefits of religion. how do you reconcile that? >> you are right. it is an empirical question. not a question of logic. it is an empirical question. society can be prosperous and virtuous and freed without religious sustenance. the biggest laboratory for that
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is post-christian europe. it is not promising. it is a fair question. the logic of my argument is there are a lot more people like me, we would be in big trouble. i think that may be true. >> thank you. >> what are your views on the present state and the future state of the american nuclear family? >> without any doubt, america's biggest problem is not the debt. the fiscal cliff and other metaphorical geology. the biggest problem in america is family disintegration.
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family is the primary transmitter of social capital. [applause] 1964, lyndon johnson's labor department, produced a report. there is a crisis in the negro family today because 24% of african-americans children are being born to unmarried parents. 24% in 1964. today, one-third of all american children are born to unmarried mothers. we know what this means. we know the social pathology. we know what that means in terms of neighborhoods and
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schools. we have no idea what happened. we do not know why in 1950, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5%. we have seen family disintegration during war, famine, and pestilence. it has happened in wales, portugal, spain, all over. we do not know why. we do not know what to do about it. i will give an answer that will interest and amuse the previous questioner. when two things coincided in late 18th-century england, a
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grain surplus, the result was a cheap gin and a social calamity. they passed a few laws, licensing laws, it did not help. what turned britain around was john wesley. methodism. converting the women of england -- [laughter] that is the way it worked. it is an odd thing for me to be saying. >> you talked about the virtues freedom requires. i worked in the field of education. if our major problem children come to school without virtues, it is the public school system the place to nurture that? i believe our society and culture does not nurture those virtues.
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how do we address that? >> this is a good question. the family is the smallest school. by the time all lots of negligently parentage, often at no-fault to the single mother, these children get to school, and it is too late. the chicago schoolteacher it says should its first graders who do not know numbers, shapes, or colors. they're raised in a culture of
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silence except for the television. it is america's biggest problem. and on that cheerful note, thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> the senate returns for legislative business thursday, and the house as a pro forma
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session scheduled. the senate is in at 10:00 a.m. eastern to look at extending provisions of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, and de hurricane sandy disaster relief package. you can follow live coverage of the senate on c-span to. house members are on standby as negotiations continue over the so-called fiscal cliff. debate is possible once it is announced. >> i like a variety of the programs on c-span, the debates, i like to touch them when they are available. i do watch the political call in programs as well you get the various positions from republicans, independents, democrats.
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i think it is fair and impartial. it is the full spectrum of the political scene. i like the coverage. >> dennis watches c-span on comcast. c-span, creed by america's cable companies in 1979, brought to the public service by television provider. >> five-time grammy-award winner james taylor spoke of the national press club about the reelection of president obama, the wars in iraq and the so- called fiscal cliff. this is one hour and 10 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> welcome to the national press club. my name is theresa werner, the president of the national press club. we are the leading professional organization for journalists to programming and events such as these. while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, a visit our web site, to donate to the program through our national institutes, please visit on behalf of our members, i would like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today. art temple includes guest of our speaker and working journalists who are members of the press club. if you hear applause, we would note that members of the general public are attending. it is not necessarily a lack of journalistic conductivity. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio
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audiences. our lunches are also featured on our weekly podcaster on the national press club. you can also follow on twitter using #npclunch. i will ask as many questions as time permits. now i would like to introduce our guest and i would ask of you to stand is your name is announced. from your right, michael phelps, publisher and ceo of the washington examiner. doris, president and editorial associates. jerry, buffalo news and former national press club president. laura lee, producer, npr. kim taylor, and james's wife. donna, usa today, former
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national press club presidents. marylou donohue, she organized today's event. john crumpler, guest of the speaker. former president of the national press club. mark bueno. \[applause] thank you for joining us today. i really do not need to introduce james taylor to you in that we all feel that we know him and his music. but i will take a moment to remind you of how and why we have come to feel we know him. mr. taylor's music embodies the art of song writing at its most personal and universal. he is a master read describing
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specific situations in a way that resonates with people from everywhere. for more than 40 years, he has been articulating moments of the pain and joy and letting his listeners know they are not alone. james taylor has sold close to 100 million albums and his career. that is a very big number. look up to the stars on a clear night, that is what 100 million looks like. he has sung in locations by carnegie hall, fenway at president obama's inauguration and the academy awards. he is a 5 time grammy award winner and was inducted to the rock-and-roll hall of fame in 2000. he is a recipient of the national medal of art and he has found time for politics.
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among the most active in the obama campaign, james taylor crisscrossed the country in support of the president, performing with his wife spreading the campaign message wherever and whenever he was called upon to do so. he worked for the president and progressive causes and began in 2008 when he performed in five cities in north carolina and. his efforts generated thousands of volunteers and helped win the state for the democrats for the first time since 1976. the last year has been a busy for them on the campaign trail, over 50 radio and television interviews and 40 events, from concerts' and field offices to opening the final night of the democratic national convention. just yesterday, he helped brighten up washington, d.c. by performing at the lighting of
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the national christmas tree. his music was with us as we celebrated the season, our family and country. i would like to welcome james taylor. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, bill, thank you, susan, for the cupcakes. i got a fire one myself. mighty tasty. you know, i titled this thing today election reform because i thought i needed to have a title. i probably know less about election reform then pretty much everybody in the room. i will talk a little bit about
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it toward the end. really, what i wanted to do it is described a pilgrim's progress through the political process as a surrogate. i will start actually as i used to start and have started many of my performances in the past, with a song. this is a song -- it is the earliest of my songs. not the first song i wrote because that is unlistenable. this is the song i played for -- i am nervous today but on this occasion i was clinically nervous. i played for george harrison and paul mccartney in london. and in february of 1968, i had been lucky enough to get an opportunity to audition for apple records. they were signing acts.
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i was 19 years old. i had my guitar and i had the song that i played for them. i will play it for you now. ♪ is that coming across? ♪ it is something in the way she moves ♪ the way she calls my name seems to leave the troubled world behind if i'm feeling down and bloom she always seems to change my mind i feel fine any time she is around she is around me now
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almost all the time if i am well you can tell she's been with me now she has been with me now quite a long, long time and i feel fine. every now and then the things i've ninon lose their meaning and i find myself careening into places where i should not let me go she has a power to go where no one else can find me and silently remind me of the happiness and the good times
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that i know i guess i got to know them how she thinks or where she has been to me, the words are nice, the way they sound i like to hear them best that way it does not matter much what they mean she says them mostly just to calm me down i feel fine any time she is around me now she is around me now i guess it just about all the time if i am well you can tell she has been with me now she's been with me now quite a long, quite a long, long time
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and i feel fine ♪ [applause] so it turned out well. i was nervous. it was a faster and higher than i just played it. i was younger. i was having an out of body experience being in the same room as the two living beatles. i was a huge beatles fan. he liked it enough that he
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signed me to the label. george harrison liked it enough he went home and wrote it himself. [laughter] actually, i howff ripped off so many beatles tunes that turnabout is fair play. how do i get into politics? basically from being a professional autobiography for. is it false advertising to attract people and then ask them to pay attention to something else? i suppose a little bit, it is. but i feel motivated in these past elections by what a wonderful president i think barack obama is and how important it is that he get a
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chance to govern, if possible. but, anyway, my father gave me my politics. that happens with a lot of us. we grew up in north carolina. i am a yellow dog democrat, as he was, an unapologetic liberal. a definite progressive in my politics and beliefs. in a way, i think i was defined -- i'm surprised to hear myself say it -- defined by jesse helms, to a certain extent. in north carolina, he owned the
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only tv station. he would go on -- the programming was thin on the ground. he would go on and deliver these screens or harangues, rants. those of us living in north carolina, where my father worked for the university, he had studied medicine in cambridge in massachusetts. he had met my mother there. but he had moved to the family back to north carolina. chapel hill was a progressive enclave in those days and jesse helms would refer to it on his tv editorial as communist hill. in a way, that defined -- it was an early point as an antagonist, i feel as though he
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helped defined me politically. over the years i have tried, unsuccessfully, a sad succession of north carolina democrats trying to unseat jesse helms. i never managed to do it. we never managed to do it. my friend john actually got my wife kim and i deeply involved in the obama campaign. he is nodding his head because he knows about jesse helms. my father and his generation, i remember the first political campaign i am aware of being my family being enthusiastic about that they stevenson over eisenhower.
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my father in chapel hill, and his generation, they built a bridge. they were pro-higher education, infrastructure, they were liberal in their politics and progressive. they were deeply anti- segregationist and in jim crow. built in that area something called the research triangle that depended on education, higher education, and which has paid huge dividends and opened the road to the new south, as we think of it today. my father would have been coming in 2008, would have been so proud to see barack obama
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elected in north carolina, to see the state go for barack obama. sadly, it was not to happen again in 2012, although we worked hard at it. anyway, my first campaign that i actually was involved with was mcgovern in 1972. i think my wife kim has the bumper sticker that says "don't blame me, i'm from massachusetts." i think massachusetts was the only state to go for mcgovern, sadly. kim also took a year off between high-school and college and a ring doorbells and called people up for that at the field office in upstate new york. i worked with carol king and
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barbra streisand. we did a couple of concerts. it was 3/4 mcgovern as a time signature, me, and carol, and a barbara streisand. in the years since then, i have gotten involved with a number of people in massachusetts, gary studds, ted kennedy, i worked on his campaign, i worked for elizabeth warren this pastime. i have written it down, if i could find it. i worked for dukakis and mondale and gore and kerry, a long list, clinton and jimmy carter.
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i have worked on john anderson's campaign. the only non-democrat in the bunch. so, it was natural, being politically active, that i would get involved in the campaign of 2008. i really, i was motivated by eight years of dick cheney-bush. i say it in that order on purpose. it was a tough time for me. i really suffered. it made me ambivalent about my country, that we would choose that, even if we did not actually choose him --
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[laughter] \[laughter] that is what represented us in the world. i felt as though, after september 11, the diversion, and the distraction of the nation's concern and energy into iraq was unpardonable. i felt what -- it was inept and corrupt and opaque. those were tough years for me. i was motivated to see barack obama, sort of a surprise, really. i could not believe we had gotten such a real person, to make it through the filter system of our politics. it meant a lot to me. i know it would have meant a huge amount to my father. i think of him often.
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so, again, in 2012, kim and i went on the road for obama. we did about three dozen events. it restored my faith in the country, to meet these people who had committed themselves to this reelection campaign. it was the largest grass-roots event we have ever seen in this country. the people involved were fundamentally such good people, i felt. it really meant a lot to me to be involved in an. they were smart, too. they did it really well. they were committed to this mission and they really carried it out beautifully. i should say also that although i am a relentless democrats, i
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do believe that a dialogue between a reasonable dialogue between republicans and democrats is what keeps the country on course and in balance. by ourselves, liberals would probably steer us toward a nanny style state and republicans would go toward oligarchy and inherited wealth and power. i do think we need a strong republican party and a dialogue between left and right. but paralysis seems to be the order of the day. i will rant on and on and i
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promised him i would not do too much of that. it was a delight been involved in the campaign, the obama campaign. we had a wonderful time. we went back to north carolina. we played the song a lot. i'm not going to play the whole thing. it is too long. ♪ in my mind i am going to carolina. can you feel the sunshine? it is like a friend of mine that hit me from behind carolina in my mind i am on the
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dark side of the noon it goes on like this forever he must forgive me if i am going to caroline in my mind in my mind i am going to carolina can't you see the sunshine can't you just feel the moonshine ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind yes, i am going to carolina in my mind i'm going to carolina in my mind ♪
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♪ [applause] i have written a very few overtly political songs. here come the couple of them. i will play you the first verse of a song called "line em up"
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which is about how things in this life tend to line up. ♪ oh, i remember richard nixon in 1974 ♪ staff lined up just to say goodbye tiny tear, he said nobody knows me nobody understands i'm going to shake some hands somebody lined them up line 'em u line 'em all up
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♪ >> not really a song about nixon. it was fascinating to watch him on camera. he was at the podium saying goodbye, farewell. then he had a staging problem. i was interested in how they handled it. nixon did not have a great walker. if you have seen those depictions of the evolution of man --\[laughter] coming from the primordial ooze and slowly walking on all fours and then finally ending on the
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extreme with cro-magnon man walking along, analyzing everything. nixon's walk was a couple of characters back from that guy. they did not want to focus on it. so they lined up all of the employees and he went down the line like a receiving line, saying goodbye to all of them. it was quite moving, saying hello and goodbye for the first and last time. and then at the end of the line he was on the helicopter and out of there. this next song is a more political song, "slap weather." the first verses about ronald reagan and leaving office. if i am not mistaken, it was my impression that one of the first things he did after leaving office was except a
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speaking engagement in japan for $2 million. is that right? for some reason, that took me back. today it would just go off my back like nothing had happened. what is more natural? but at the time -- so. ♪ take all the money we need for school spend it on a weapon you can never use make the world an offer they cannot refuse open up the door and let the shark- men feed sell the ponderosa to the japanese slap leather go on, ron just about to go myself turn the world into a tv show it is
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the same game wherever you go one big advertisement for the status quo as if you knew how the story ends as if you are not sitting in a room alone and there was somebody real at the end of the telephone somebody real just about to dial your number ♪ get all worked up go back to war tie that yellow
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ribbon a side of fries big mac norman i usedn' to love a parade big mac falafel just about to go myself ♪ \[applause] "big mac falafel" in the code for the oversimplification of the arab world and the tendency
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of american foreign policy at the time to think that you could fix and watch with a hammer. yeah, so we did. we went on the road and in many ways had our faith in the american process and our country restored by meeting some wonderful, committed people, who really mean extremely well and have the future of this country in their hearts and minds. but we raised the better part of $10 million, and it ain't right, you know? i do not know a lot about election reform, but it seems it breaks into two areas.
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one is the campaign and the other is the actual election itself. fixing the campaign is going to be tough, trying to get the money out of it, trying to get some forms in the place of our debates that actually give us a clear idea of who the candidate is and what they intend for the country -- that is a difficult and tall order. trying to streamline it so that it does not take two years to run for public office. these are difficult things to accomplish, and i do not know how we go about it. it seems as though there is a sign of election reform, the process itself, the day of elections that would be
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reasonably easy to do something about. for me, i have just come through an election, so, of course, as all of you have, probably as intensely if not more so than i have, with the press. but it seems as though -- to me, the vote is sacred. it is the democratic moment. it is the moment of the actual act of self-government is when we choose our representatives. and in the american experiment, this democratic light of the world -- it seems to me as though the vote is the moment, and why we -- we have off the 4th of july, independence day, and we give those days off, so it just seems --
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[applause] we have -- there was something like 60%, 63% participation of eligible voters this election. off-year elections it is more like the 40%. average them out, we get 50% of our voters to the polls, and that is not good enough for what america is and for what it means. for some reason, we are dropping that ball. we need to have that day off to vote, we need to have the polls open for a week.
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when we identify people, officially identify people, they should be registered as soon as somebody has an official name and address. they should be able to get a note in the mail that tells them where to go to vote. this business -- the question of gerrymandering for congressional districts is a profound conundrum. i do not know how we fix that. but we can at least get people to get to the polls in greater numbers. there are a lot of people who do not want to go in the other direction, who want fewer people to vote, and these voter i.d. laws that are in the name of preventing voter fraud, i take it is a solution without a problem. the voter fraud in this country is pretty much equal to either side and is so low that the amount of people who are discouraged from voting by these new i.d. laws, it is just a bad idea in my opinion. also, if you are concerned about voter fraud, a paper trail
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for diebold voting machines, some kind of accounting possibility for diebold machines so we can check every hundredth machine at its day paper trail is a much better and a much more effective way to ensure against voter fraud. you can go on google, fined 20 different tracking experiments that people have performed on these diebold machines, and diebold wears its political heart on its sleeve. they contribute hugely to political campaigns. a paper trail for these machines would be an excellent idea to make sure it is not being hacked, because it has been repeatedly proven that it is embarrassingly easy to hack these diebold machines. that needs to happen. anyway, that is the election
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reform part of my speech, and i am going to end with another song, that kim and i sang when we were at out at the trail. kim actually thought until she was about 12 years old, she thought the picture of fdr on her grandmother's mantelpiece was her grandfather. [laughter] her grandmother was such a fervent new-dealer that she inoculated came into liberal politics. ♪ o beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain for
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purple mountain majesties above the fruiten plain america! america! god shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea from sea to shining sea
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♪ thank you. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> you shared with us your love for politics and how passionate you are free. have you ever thought about running for public office? >> with my personal history -- [laughter] that would be a massacre. [laughter]
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no. >> within the last year, bonnie raitt made a comment -- as far as i see, we had an option instead of an election. would you comment? is a disaster. it is the wrong direction to head in. it is polluting. two years of paying very close attention to who these two men are and have no idea what mitt romney's plan for the country was -- you know, a billion citizens united is a disaster, and i talked to jim messina, who was so instrumental in the obama re-election organization. he feels as though -- i hope i am not speaking out of school to say this -- he feels we need a constitutional amendment to
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protect voters rights and to also protect our collections from the pollution of this amazing amount of money. i agree with bonnie. i do not know if it is an option, but the money is a distraction. it does not to give us good information about who these people are. now, noam chomsky says that the size of a piece of information is to make it as short as it is today is an effective way of censoring, is a censorship to shorten our pieces of information, because it gives us the opportunity to say something that people already know. but the amount of time that it takes to contradict a sort of known perceived consensus of
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reality and perceived wisdom to disassembled that in to build into someone's mind in an argument an alternative way of seeing things, it just takes much too long for the way we communicate today. i do not know what to do about that. one of the main problems that liberals have had one of the questions we ask ourselves and frequently is, how do we communicate our message? it is such a good message. why can't we communicate this to people? why can't we tell them what we have in mind? i think it is because people are looking for simple answers to complex questions, and when you rush in with a simple answer, people will flock to you. that is what i meant when i said fix a watch with a hammer. that is off of the question.
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that that is another major thing that reagan taught in those debates. you asked ronald reagan a question, and he would enter the question that he knew the answer to where he just absolutely -- no problem whatsoever, and he would say, yeah. \[laughter] it is amazing. we see it more and more often, too, that you answer the question that you know and ask me the next order, please. >> would you be upset if president obama compromised too much with republicans in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff? >> oh, yeah, i would be. you know, i think it is remarkable that right after the election we get this thing that comes right up in our faces
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that basically outlines in bold relief the differences in the two ideas about how we go forward in this country. it is really excellent timing, and we may have to go over the cliff, if it is forced into it. but this idea that you bring down the cost of medicare by making it available to more people is a terrible idea of mr. boehner's. the idea -- i would be terribly upset, along with many of my friends, if obama compromised too much on what needs to happen that is called the fiscal cliff. >> do you think a prominent third-party would help our
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country? >> i felt strongly about that when i supported john anderson in 1979. he was -- a large part of anderson's campaign was to sue the state ballot procedure into allowing third parties to have more access to the electoral process. i would like to see a third party available, but that, too, seems like a really tall order. >> what do you think is the appropriate role for actors and celebrities to play in the political arena? >> i think if you are a really motivated committed citizen who feels very strongly about either an issue or a candidate, you get involved. you go out and do it regardless of what it means.
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as i said, i have got this long history as a yellow-dog democrat liberal, and i do not think anyone is surprised to see me, and i think my republican friends tolerate it and largely forgive me for it. but i know there are other people who take a real hit. i think bruce springsteen is a very brave to support obama. i think a lot of his audience is angered by that. in a way it seems like a form of selling out. you have to feel really strongly about it. it can feel like a betrayal to people to see something politicized. that speaks to the nature of how low politics has sunk, that people think of it as a trail. you know, again, if you feel
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strongly, i think you get involved. >> can you tell us what it was like to perform at the democratic national convention? >> it was in north carolina -- i knew what song to play. [laughter] it was not being carried that moment by the national networks. i felt as though i did not feel the stress and the extra burden of being on television, which always affects me negatively. it was good. it was nice to be home. it felt like the right thing. charlotte was an electrifying for that week. it was a great convention. we loved being there. >> i would like to shift to music, if you music questions. you mentioned that your first
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record label was apple. i was wondering how much did the beatles help launch her musical career? >> just being signed and allow to make that first album and being the first artist signed did their label was a huge amount of attention for me to get. it allowed me to make my first record, and that got me my next deal with warner brothers. i do not think that the beatles themselves were in any way charged with the mission of publicizing james taylor. signing me was enough. >> what do you think is your secret for your long success? >> oh, i have got a great audience, and i love them. i love the people that come and
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see me. they have supported me for such a long time, and they as well are lovely people, and i feel very at home, very comfortable with them. as i said, increasingly grateful as time goes by, and that and just the great good fortune of being healthy -- again, it is a music that does not tear you up to sing it. there are some people like kurt cobain and saying, how does that feel when you are 50? sadly, we did not get a chance to see it, but i am sure it would have turned into something that was beautiful and worthy. it is a kind of music that lets you carry on with it. you know, it all comes down to
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good luck. >> you are known for your incredible -- but you have done duets with tony bennett and natalie cole. who's your favorite duet partner? >> do i get in trouble for this? [laughter] there has not been that many. i loved working with all of them. i have loved working with mark knoffler, with alison kraus on that beautiful tribute she did, linda ronstadt. there are many. of course, carole king, joni mitchell. >> it is impossible to choose. but is there anybody you would like to perform with that you have not?
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>> i would like to perform with harry belafonte if i could. we did a series of concert at carnegie hall, and i asked harry if he would sing one of the songs that i grew up listening to of his, but he is pretty much decided he is not going to do that anymore. yeah, harry belafonte. >> what was the first song that you could truly play on your guitar? >> "keep on truckin', mama." [laughter] >> can you still play it? >> i still play it. you do not want to hear that. [laughter]
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this is where things go south. ♪ keep' on truckin', mama keeping on blues away ♪ etc. [applause] [laughter] >> did you take lessons or are you self-talk? >> i am self-taught, but a lot of people showed me stuff. they were not formal lessons, but that is how it worked. the great folks care of the 1960's. [laughter] we did. we would sort of share -- and everybody would walk around with a guitar, all the time. we thought that was normal. \[laughter] >> your playing style is
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relaxed. did you develop that style on your own or were you influenced by anyone? >> i was influenced by a guy named travis, merle travis, and he had something called travis picking, but he probably learned it from somebody else. it was kind of a walking bass. ♪ i threw in this finger. ♪ that was the beginning of it, but it allows you to play a bass line, and it is a pianistic style, because you can play the right hand with your thumb.>> what gave you an idea y a slow version of "handy man"?
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>> we had recorded songs and were ready to put down basic tracks, and then you come back and you sing the finished the vocal on it or put color -- other elements on it. we finished the three songs, and we still had an hour and a half of studio time left before the meter ran out. my friend danny said, you always liked that song "handy man." why don't we do that? we came up with a 15-minute version of it. just off the top of our heads.
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>> what inspired you to write "sweet baby james"? >> i had been overseas, abroad, making my apple album. when i came home, i was keen to see a little baby, and i drove down to north carolina and kept thinking about wouldn't it be nice to have a cowboy lullaby to sing this little new baby james? like roy rogers or gene autry, there will be blue shadows on the trail, go to sleep, you little buckaroo. and that was the idea behind it. theyoung cowboy livin' on range
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sleeps in the canyon just waiting for summer the pasture's changed as he sits by his fire thinkin' about women and glasses of beer and closes his eyes as the doggies retire he sings out his song which is soft, but it's clear just as if someone could hear he says goodnight all you moonlight ladies
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my sweet baby james greens and blues for the colors i choose won't you let me go down in my dreams? yes, just rockabye sweet baby james ♪ [applause] ♪ sorry, i turned off my amplifier. is that how much time we have got left? >> i am told we can run a little longer if you want to keep going on with it. [applause] ♪ thank you. people dashing for the doo


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